LOS BAÑOS, THE PHILIPPINES — IRRI and Corteva Agriscience have partnered to build a global community of scientists that will drive solutions to the challenge of food security.

Guided by the symposium’s theme, “Same Field, Better Yield,”  plant breeders on rice, wheat, maize, and coconuts have shared their latest practices and research findings with around 200 graduate students from different universities.

One of the highlights of the symposium is the lecture of Cornell University’s Mark Sorrells. He concluded his lecture on molecular breeding and high throughput phenotyping in the 21st century by highlighting the importance of collaboration among different specialists in modern-day plant breeding.

“Days are long gone when plant breeders work on isolation,” Sorrell said. “The best plant breeders today are those who work with a team with complementary expertise to develop varieties today.”

Participants expressed their appreciation for the symposium.

“The symposium was a great opportunity for young scientists to gain international exposure and network,” Juniper Boroka Kiss, a plant biology student from the Aberystwyth University, Wales. “Not only we had leading scientists sharing their experience in breeding, but the poster session kept the conversations going throughout the evening.

She is in the country as a participant of the Rice: Research to Production Course, an IRRI Education program for early career researchers and students.

“It has been brilliant to spend a day in the company of a great scientific community in the Philippines," Juniper added.

Another symposium participant, Margaret Anne Pelayo from Ghent University, said that she was able to gain a better understanding on current and emerging technologies in plant breeding, agriculture, and biotechnology.

“I can apply this on my work on shoot meristem maintenance in model plant systems with a focus on increasing yield,” Pelayo said.

The symposium was organized by the Association of Fellows, Scholars, Trainees and Residents of IRRI (AFSTRI).

“Together with AFSTRI, we are conducting the Plant Sciences Symposium to empower future scientists through enhancement of graduate education and networking,” said Jason Rauscher, Corteva Agriscience academic relations manager. “We are very excited that IRRI is being a part of this global series to build the capacity of young plant scientists.”

This symposium is a part of a worldwide, student-driven symposia series inaugurated and supported by Corteva Agriscience in 2008.